UCLA reportedly faces a significant roadblock in its plans to jump from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten.
According to Ben Bolch and Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times, a University of California regent said after a closed session Wednesday that the regents retain power to block UCLA's move.
"All options are on the table," regent John Perez said.
On June 30, it was announced that UCLA and USC were approved as new members of the Big Ten starting in 2024, sending more shock waves through the ever-changing college sports landscape. According to The Athletic's Stewart Mandel, the belief was that UCLA chancellor Gene Block "did not need Board of Regents approval for a campus-level athletics decision like conference membership."
However, UC system attorney Charlie Robinson indicated that was not the case during the regents' meeting: "It’s important to understand that when the regents delegated authority to the president, they didn’t give it away or lose it. Essentially, what they did was extend it such that authority was with the regents and the president."
Robinson added that the regents have the ability to assume complete control of the school's decision: "One mechanism would be for the [regent] board chair to say, 'I'm directing you, in this instance, to stand down,' and the board will be exercising authority in this area."
Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom demanded an explanation for UCLA's jump from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten and expressed his displeasure with the lack of transparency regarding the move. UCLA and USC were included in the Big Ten's announcement Thursday of its new television deal reportedly worth $7-8 billion, with each school in the conference expected to earn around $100 million annually.
While it isn't known whether the regents will block UCLA's move, it's clear that an assertion of the board's power is under serious consideration.
"We’re going to look at what all the different options look like and then the board will assert itself in terms of what its desired outcome is," Perez said.